It’s Jan. 4. Are you already on the verge of scrapping your New Year’s resolutions?
Well, Chevrolet just launched a campaign on Facebook designed to keep you on track—and in a broader sense, portray the General Motors nameplate as a valued partner on the road of life.
“A new year offers all of us the clean slate we need to tackle the personal challenges in our lives that are so often pushed to the side as family and work priorities consume our time and energy,” Tim Mahoney, chief marketing officer, Global Chevrolet, tells Adweek. “I, like so many who have made resolutions this week, could use a little help and encouragement achieving those goals.”
Developed by Facebook Creative Shop in association with agencies The Story Lab and Commonwealth//McCann (with Carat handling media), the push takes a two-pronged approach.
First, the team deployed Chevrolet Co-Driver, a free automated chatbot that lives within Facebook Messenger. It lets users share tips and encouragement and access expert advice to keep them motivated.
Along with employing the bot to foster a sense of community—and, hopefully, tie users more closely to the brand—Chevy also harnesses the power of long-form storytelling, following five diverse subjects who are seeking to achieve various goals. These include conquering fears of heights and water, competing in a new sport after suffering a debilitating injury, training to climb Mount Everest and learning to dance.
“We had the tall task of finding real people with real stories and audacious resolutions,” says Keenan Pridmore, head of Facebook Creative Shop Studio. “We used social media, friends of friends, neighborhood communities and clubs and even contacted local coaches and therapists to ultimately find our featured heroes.”
Chevy tailored VR experiences to help each subject visualize achieving their goals. And each stars in his or her own 360 video on Facebook. For example, the clip below features Denna, a young woman learning to compete as a rower after a hockey injury confined her to a wheelchair:
“Beyond the initial 360 video for each hero, we’ll follow their journey within Facebook Canvas units that will act as multimedia journals, giving a glimpse into the challenges and progress as they seek to achieve their goals,” Pridmore says. “This campaign will wrap up March 1. It will culminate in a final anthem video where we hope to celebrate all of our heroes having accomplished their bold resolutions.”
Factor in the Co-Driver bot, and it’s clear that Chevy’s really going all in on the resolutions concept, using the Facebook platform to achieve scale.
“By connecting the experience on Facebook and Messenger, you don’t just watch an inspiring campaign, you can take part in it,” says Mark D’Arcy, vp and chief creative officer of Facebook Creative Shop. “This is a great example of marketing for people, not at people. And while it’s early days for Messenger, I hope we’ll see more and more examples like this that are designed to have value for people first.”
It’s a novel strategy, extremely well realized, and in line with the trend of car companies positioning themselves as purveyors of more than just reliable transportation to take us from Point A to Point B. (Though really, isn’t that the whole point of their existence?)
On the other hand, there is a disconnect that makes the whole thing feel like a stretch. Why would Chevy care about helping folks keep their resolutions? Maybe the company just wants to sell cars.
The videos—targeted based on Facebook users’ particular likes and interests—are legitimately inspirational and compelling. Still, in our oversaturated digital landscape, with users constantly bombarded and quickly distracted, will such content flit past like pretty scenery on a long drive?
“The storytelling and use of technology were composed to ensure continuity throughout,” Pridmore says. “At the beginning of the year, we’ll introduce our five people and start their journeys using 360 video. As they progress, we’ll update via Facebook Canvas units and then see the campaign close as they accomplish their goals via a unique use of vertical video. Throughout, people will be able to use the messenger bot to help achieve their own resolution. It’s our hope that this story arc, combined with the variety of uses of the Facebook’s creative canvases, will keep the audience engaged and involved throughout.”
“New Year. New Roads”
Developed by: Facebook Creative Shop
The Story Lab: Lead agency
Commonwealth/McCann: Creative agency
Carat: Media Agency
Production Company: m ss ng p eces
Co-Directors: Tucker Walsh and Sam Smith